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Washington Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg suffers injury setback, 2023 status in doubt

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering another setback with nerve issues in his throwing arm.

As pitchers and catchers report for spring training, Washington had looked forward to its 34-year-old starter arriving healthy for the start of training. However, manager Davey Martinez revealed on Wednesday that Strasburg will be sidelined indefinitely.

  • Stephen Strasburg contract: $140 million owed over next four seasons, $26.6 million annually from 2027-’29

According to MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, Strasburg experienced nerve issues during his second throwing session at home. The same problem bothered him in 2022 following surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.

Related: MLB spring training 2023 guide

A three-time All-Star selection and the 2019 World Series MVP, Strasburg’s career has derailed over the last three seasons. Since signing a $245 million contract in 2019, Washington’s ace has spent most of his time on the injured list.

  • Stephen Strasburg stats (2020-’22): 31.1 innings pitched, 6.89 ERA, 1.56 WHIP

Coming off an injury-riddled 2022 season, Strasburgh was uncertain about his future in baseball. Even as he worked his way back physically this winter, the Nationals’ front office remained uncertain of his availability for the start of the 2023 season.

  • Stephen Strasburg career stats: 1,470 IP, 1,723 strikeouts, 3.24 ERA, 113-62 record

Strasburg became increasingly confident in his ability to return as spring training neared, throwing his first pitching session without issue. However, per Zuckerman, Washington remained wary about his arm holding up and problems arose in Strasburg’s second private throwing session.

Related: MLB power rankings 2023

While the Nationals weren’t expected to contend in 2023, Strasburg’s sudden availability delivers another blow to a starting rotation that was already thin. With Strasburg likely to be on the injured list for Opening Day, a rotation spot opens for young pitchers Cade Cavalli and MacKenzie Gore.

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